Almost everyone hated David Robert Mitchell‘s Under The Silver Lake when it played at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It was soon after reported that A24’s original 6.22 release date had been scuttled in favor of a 12.7.18 opening. That too was abandoned. Mitchell’s meandering noir is finally opening today, but without any cuts at all to the original 139-minute length. The thinking last summer was that A24 had almost certainly asked Mitchell to go back to the editing room and tighten things up, and perhaps even do a little re-shooting. Nope.
I’m sorry but David Robert Mitchell‘s Under The Silver Lake (A24, 6.22) is mostly a floundering, incoherent mess. Yeah, I know — Mitchell wanted it to feel this way, right? Ironically, I mean. Confusion and mental haziness are part of the impressionistic thrust.
It’s pretty much a textbook example of what happens when a gifted, financially successful director without much on his mind…this is what happens when such a fellow comes to believe that he’s a version of Federico Fellini in the wake of La Dolce Vita or 8 1/2 and thereby obtains the funds to make whatever the hell he wants, and so he decides to create…uhm, well let’s try an impressionistic fantasia dreamtrip about L.A. hipster weirdness and…you know, dreamy fantasy women with nice breasts and impressionistic effluvia and whatever-the-fuck-else.
Two hours and 15 minutes of infuriating slacker nothingness…everyone’s vaguely confused, nobody really knows anything, all kinds of clues and hints about seemingly impenetrable conspiracies involving general L.A. space-case culture, bodies of dead dogs, cults, riddles and obsessions of the super-rich.
It’s basically about Andrew Garfield absolutely refusing to deal with paying his overdue rent, and neighbor Riley Keough, whom he tries to find throughout the film after she disappears early on, doing a late-career Marilyn Monroe with maybe a touch of Gloria Grahame in In A Lonely Place.
Under The Silver Lake is Mulholland Drive meets Fellini Satyricon meets Inherent Vice meets The Big Lebowski, except Lebowski, bleary-eyed stoner comedy that it was, was far more logical and witty and tied together, and with an actual through-line you could more or less follow.
I felt the same kind of where-the-fuck-is-this-movie-going? confusion that I got from Paul Thomas Anderson‘s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon‘s novel of the late ’60s.